Is the Job Market Tougher for Mature Graduates?
A mature student may have the advantages over the younger students, which would be seen during the university admissions period. It wouldn't be the same case after leaving the university (again).
You may be a mature graduate, who left the university two years ago. You're about to wish that you spent less time in studying World Cinema and more in attending seminars that could have helped you get a job right after graduation. If not that, then you might be another mature graduate who is approaching 40. You can't find a job in London, so you're thinking of Bristol. Your flatmate would suggest Glasgow, which you wouldn't consider an option back then. Perhaps you're not any of those two. And you didn't get a job offer. Yet.
There could be three things that keep you from getting over the final hurdle (in your job hunt). You're overqualified in any position while some employers are looking for younger applicants who are a bit too eager (or desperate) to get any job. (And these employers are thinking that these young guns are more than willing for a compromise.) The last possibility might turn out to be unawareness on your part. Have you found a field where you would stand out?
What you’re doing could be something, but you're not getting paid for it. You must not be ashamed of it, not even get disheartened over it. You still have some passion in you, which is more than a good thing. You're also enthusiastic about what you’re doing, which employers (or recruiters) haven't noticed it. And you may have to look beyond the network that you're in. It doesn't mean that you would consider relocation to Inverness, which happens to be Macbeth's hometown. (And you don't need to mention this tragedy countless times unless you're thinking of a theatre production in that place. If you're not a creative individual, then it could be a possible career in real estate. A career change is a serious matter, though. Study your options and possible outcome before making the big leap.) Flexibility is the next best thing, but you would know it.
The next step in this so-called enlightened phase is to look at the ads again. It may not mean that you would look through the companies that you have sent your CV, but you didn't any response. (If you're doing it due to the continuous depletion of your funds, then it may be wise to seek help from any member of your family.) Don't be afraid to look at other industries, where your skills could be noticed. If the openings happen to be found on the continent (or the other side of the Atlantic), then do a risky calculation. Make some inquiries. You can figure out if it's worth it or not.
For the meantime, you must stick to the following rules. You should have known it, but your few years at the university may have made you forgot it.
How to Survive the Tough Job Market
Perseverance should keep you looking for a job (until the offer comes along). You might bang your head, in frustration, after you realise that you didn't pass the final interview. It won't do you any good if you wonder if you didn't try too hard or you didn't make a great effort in customising your CV (for this particular job). Look forward to the next one instead. Don't lose hope. Perseverance would make a huge difference, which employers (or recruiters) would see sooner or later. And they consider it a virtue.
You must not lose that affirmative mindset. This is not an easy thing to do, as all you want is a monthly paycheck. You're too old for any unpaid job, yet this would be the only thing to keep you from losing your edge. You're also getting tired of waking up every morning, wondering if this could be the day when you put that uncertainty behind you. You won't know the answer unless you keep on sending your CV. If you're dealing with another setback, then call any member of your family. Invite your mates to beer (and another football game). Listen to your favourite tune (in your playlist), if not watch a rerun of “Doctor Who” (if you're a fan of that series). Chocolate, if not Belgian butter cookies, should lift your spirits up.
Make the most out of your network. It doesn't limit to your former colleagues, as well as the professionals you have met during a training (or seminar). It could be colleagues of your former workmates, whom you didn't meet. Yet. There's a subtle way of asking your ex-colleague about it, but there's nothing wrong about being direct about it. (You could get an answer sooner than you wish. Don't take it hard if it's not what you expect to hear, though.) Check out your network for the upcoming meetup(s), where you can meet professionals from other industries. There might be a break there, if not a possible opportunity that would change your career for the better. You have nothing to lose.
Age is a Number
The economic climate might make job hunting more challenging that it is. The decrease in your saving would limit your activities, and you won't like it at all. There's no other way than to tough it out. This is a temporary phase, so try to be patient about moments that you don’t fancy at all. Unleash your weird sense of humor, which you would need more. If you happen to have a young family to provide, then swallow your pride and apply for any job. It would be good than not having a paycheck to look forward the next month. Don't give up on your dream job, though. Age is a number, and you're the only one who can prove it to employers (or recruiters).